Esports is more than just playing video games for a living. It comes with many responsibilities and duties players must follow in order to maintain a healthy career.
In an industry where money is on the line, pressure can be a player’s worst enemy, especially at a young age, followed by irrational decisions that could destroy their career.
While many young players grinded their way up, stayed committed and became legends of their games. Others simply couldn’t handle the challenging life of an esports player, despite its benefits, or simply fell victim to poor decision-making, resulting in a crumbling career.
CS:GO, a pillar in the esports industry, had its share of down-spiral careers and players with great potential who unfortunately suffered throughout the years due to personal life issues, bad decision making and even crossing the line for the win.
From being on top of the world to going six feet under, here are some of the ruined CS:GO careers.
Markus "Kjaerbye" Kjærbye
“Kjaerbye” was on his way to becoming a legend of the game after becoming MVP and Major winner with Astralis back in 2017, when he lifted the ELEAGUE Major trophy at the age of 18.
After following the Danish route and playing for Copenhagen Wolves, then Dignitas, he landed in Denmark's most successful organization to date: Astralis.
During his time in Astralis, he achieved what was a dream for most players at a young age. However, things crumbled like a house of cards when he unexpectedly announced his departure, joining North: an organization that ceased to exist back in 2020.
His captain at the time Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander, was speechless. While “Kjaerbye” described his leave as “the hardest decision” he ever made in his career, little did he know that it was a decision that would kill his career in the following years.
2019 was a rough year for Markus with North as they struggled to achieve any notable achievements. Though they managed to qualify for StarLadder Berlin Major 2019, they missed the cut and couldn’t get past the Legends Stage, later sparking endless mental and physical problems.
A year later, after he played for North, he developed various health problems and had constant breathing problems, abdominal pain and cramps in his chest. Within two months, the young prodigy was replaced in North before he joined FaZe Clan and later HYENAS.
Without finding any success after leaving Astralis and jumping from one team to another, he couldn’t find the motivation to compete anymore, resulting in a much-needed break.
Markus started living healthier and exercising heavily, which helped him stay physically and mentally fit, before he announced his return to competition after almost a year on the sidelines.
Despite playing for Endpoint for a short time, he was eventually released from the British organization to write his name and career on a gravestone.
Elias "Jamppi" Olkkonen
Despite having a promising future ahead as a player, Elias "Jamppi" Olkkonen never had the chance to turn his dream into a reality after he got a VAC ban on his account.
By the time Valve changed their VAC bans ruling and “Jamppi” was eventually unbanned, it was already too late since the player had already switched to Valorant.
Coming up playing with his friends, Elias got hooked almost instantly and left behind his love for Ice Hockey to grind and pursue a career in CS:GO.
Before reaching worldwide fame, he made a name for himself in the Finnish scene by participating in LAN events where he left an incredible mark proving his dedication and strong mind. The young gun played against HAVU’s Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen and Otto “ottoNd” Sihvo with a broken wrist and still made a good impression with an incredible performance.
After spending some time playing for SJ, In April 2020, Jamppi became a part of ENCE, even though he was facing issues due to a VAC ban. The team consisted entirely of players from his home country, Finland, including Aleksi "allu" Jalli, Jere "sergej" Salo, Jani "Aerial" Jussila, Sami "xseveN" Laasanen, and Miikka "suNny" Kemppi.
During his time in ENCE, he didn’t hold back. Despite having a stellar performance after another, it felt like a waste since the player couldn’t attend CS:GO’s most prestigious event.
A brick wall that shattered his dreams and marked the end of what could’ve been an exceptional career.
Kirill "Boombl4" Mikhaylov
NAVI are the only team to attend every Major in CS:GO. But, despite having such a milestone and later acquiring the best player in the world, they couldn’t lift the trophy of the most prestigious event in the game.
Not until “the boom” took them to the highest heights and gave Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyljev his long-awaited Major title at PGL Stockholm 2021.
After being crowned as a Major winner and on the world’s biggest Counter-Strike stage, “Boombl4” surprised the scene when he proposed to his girlfriend at the time Lika "LiQueen" Mikhailova. A proposal that later ruined his career with NAVI.
During a sensitive time between Ukraine and Russia, as the conflict kept rising, Lika posted a picture with the Russian flag on her cheek followed by a statement saying: “I love Russia so much! I was away for some time, but don't unsubscribe. There will be many more interesting things. I'm with you.”
Despite many fans and public figures from the community demanding answers, the player and the organization kept silent.
After an on-and-off relationship with his wife at the time, “Boombl4” released a statement about the recent events and his ex-wife’s actions.
“... I'm sorry for being silent for so long about everything that's going on and for the inappropriate publications of my wife, Lika...”
“… but I want to say that I'm for peace and against bloodshed. That's all I can say right now. We have the Major ahead of us, and after that, the club and I will decide what's next. I hope you will be supporting us at the tournament.”
After the Major, Natus Vincere parted ways with Kirill. The organization explained that he wasn't excluded from the roster for his in-game performance but rather due to "high reputational risks for the club.”
“We cannot censor what they write on social media. When we saw that stuff, we decided to find out why this had happened and discuss it. Now you can see the result of the discussions.” - COO Oleksii "xaoc" Kucherov.
On June 8, “Boombl4” decided to get a divorce from Lika. But unfortunately, she reacted in a toxic way to what had happened, leading to multiple accusations and allegedly posting the player’s video doing some drug, in addition to publishing incriminating information, accusing Boombl4 of physical and mental violence.
The Major winner decided to sue his ex-wife for libel and blackmail and continue his career. After nine months on the sidelines, he joined 1WIN earlier this year to try and save what’s left of a damaged career after being on top of the world with the best players for three years.